Among the spate of promotions announced recently by the newly formed government, the sports fraternity had cause to celebrate the elevation of former Olympian Vath Chamroeun to Secretary of State at the Ministry of Tourism in conjunction with his current job as secretary-general of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia.
The ministry is headed by Thong Khon, who is also the president of the NOCC.
The top administrator in the country’s prime sports body is months into his third term in office at the NOCC headquarters and has already been named as the secretary-general of the Cambodia SEA Games Organising Committee tasked with the hosting of the biennial multidiscipline games in 2023 for the first time in the Kingdom’s history.
Under his nearly eight years of administrative leadership at the NOCC, its first strategic plan was fulfilled when taekwondoka Sorn Seavmey won a first ever Asian Games gold medal for Cambodia at Incheon in 2014.
As set out in the next four-year plan, the Kingdom came back with a record three-medal gain in the recently concluded Asian Games in Indonesia and will be working hard to achieve the ultimate goal of winning an Olympic medal at the Tokyo Summer Games in 2020.
“I am honoured to be promoted to this position and I am grateful to sports-loving Prime Minister Hun Sen and the Minister of Tourism Dr Thong Khon for keeping faith in me. I will do my best to steer the NOCC agenda towards our strategic goals,” reacted Vath Chamroeun, whose heightened responsibility at the ministry opens up avenues for him to vigorously promote sports tourism.
“Our focus will be on sports-related tourism development, adding exciting elements like watersport adventures now that Cambodia’s jet skiers have broken new ground and brought us the glory of a gold medal from Jakarta,” the NOCC secretary-general said.
“I am glad to note that the charity-driven long-distance runs including the Khmer Empire full marathon and half marathons in Sihanoukville, Phnom Penh and Siem Reap are growing bigger both in numbers and appeal. We will continue to drive towards making Cambodia an exciting destination for sports-related tourism.”
Starting out as an aspiring wrestler, Chamroeun trained for nearly a year in North Korea in the mid-1990s before representing the Kingdom in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Soon after his return he set up the Cambodia Wrestling Federation, and from the position as an executive member to begin with, he took over as national head coach.
Switching to the administrative side he served as secretary-general before taking charge as president, a position he has held to this day.
He entered the national scene in 2010 and has since been at the top of NOCC administration, driving the country’s sports fortunes through several major international events including the 2012 and 2016 Olympics and Asian Games in Guanzhou, Incheon and Jakarta-Palembang, as well as all editions of the SEA Games since 2011 in Indonesia.